Anna Swirszczynska (also known as Anna Swir) was a Polish poet whose works deal with themes, including her experiences during World War II, motherhood, the female body, and sensuality.
Swirszczynska was born in Warsaw and grew up in poverty as the daughter of an artist. She began publishing her poems in the 1930s. During the Nazi occupation of Poland she joined the Polish resistance movement in World War II and was a military nurse during the Warsaw Uprising. She wrote for underground publications and once waited 60 minutes to be executed. Czeslaw Milosz writes of knowing her during this time and has translated a volume of her work. Her experiences during the war strongly ... more »
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Anna Swirszczynska Poems
The Same Inside
Walking to your place for a love fest I saw at a street corner an old beggar women. I took her hand,
He Was Lucky
The old man leaves his house, carries books. A German soldier snatches his books flings them in the mud.
The Second Madrigal
A night of love exquisite as a concert from old Venice played on exquisite instruments.
The Ghetto: A Mother
Cuddling in the arms her half-asphyxiated baby, howling, she ran up the staircase of the apartment building that was set ablaze. From the first floor to the second. From the second to the third.
The Sea And The Man
You will not tame this sea either by humility or rapture. But you can laugh in its face.
The Greatest Love
She is sixty. She lives the greatest love of her life. She walks arm-in-arm with her dear one,
She Does Not Remember
She was an evil stepmother. In her old age she is slowly dying in an empty hovel.
I’ll Open the Window
Our embrace lasted too long. We loved right down to the bone. I hear the bones grind, I see our two skeletons.
Look in the mirror. Let us both look. Here is my naked body. Apparently you like it, I have no reason to.
I Knocked my Head Against the Wall
As a child I put my finger in the fire to become a saint.
Myself and my Person
There are moments when I feel more clearly than ever that I am in the company of my own person.
Happy as a Dog's Tail
Happy as something unimportant and free as a thing unimportant. As something no one prizes and which does not prize itself.
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
The Same Inside
Walking to your place for a love fest
I saw at a street corner
an old beggar women.
I took her hand,
kissed her delicate cheek,
we talked, she was
the same inside as I am,
from the same kind,
I sensed this instantly
as a dog knows by scent
I gave her money,
I could not part from her.
After all, one needs
someone who is close.
And then I no longer knew
why I was walking to your place.